Posts tagged: ecstacy
A reputed Canadian gangster who authorities say is responsible for major drug distributions in Eastern Washington has arrived in Spokane to face three-year-old Ecstasy charges.
Joseph P. Curry, an associate of imprisoned B.C. drug lord Clay Roueche, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Friday to importation of Ecstasy, possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute and entry without inspection. He faces a maximum 20 years in federal prison and is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail, where he was booked Thursday evening.
He was ordered extradited to the United States from Canada in February, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The case began on Aug. 10, 2007, when federal agents say Curry, 49, abandoned a small Cessna about 35 miles from the Canadian border in Okanogan County. Three duffel bags containing Ecstasy pills were found nearby; Curry has told investigators the drugs were not his and said he knew nothing about them, according to court documents.
Curry was named as a suspect in the 2009Operation Blade Runner international drug bust, which also included arrests in Eastern Washington and North Idaho and led to the suicide of young helicopter pilot Samuel Lindsay-Brown (left) in the Spokane County Jail.
About a week after Lindsay-Brown's death on Feb. 27, 2009, another young Canadian man, Jeremy Snow, was arrested near Priest Lake with a helicopter filled with marijuana. The helicopter belonged to a friend of Curry's, and authorities believe Curry helped load the helicopter in Canada, according to court documents.
Federal agents say Curry is an associate of the United Nations gang in Vancouver, B.C. Roueche, the gang leader, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last December. Prosecutors say the gang ran a drug ring that used a network of helicopters, planes, semi-trucks and other methods to move tons of marijuana and cocaine and millions of dollars through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Curry and Roueche are pictured at right at the funeral of a UN gang member who was killed in a drug-related shooting in Canada. The photo was included in Roueche's case file.
Court documents prepared by investigators in August 2007 called Curry “a known suspect in multiple narcotics trafficking cases in Eastern District of Washington.”
In May 2006, a law enforcement helicopter spotted Curry's car meeting with a helicopter in a remote location in B.C. More than 100 kilograms of marijuana in duffel bags was transferred to the helicopter, which was intercepted by law enforcement at a remote location in Eastern Washington.
Authorities never identified the driver of the vehicle, but Curry's name came up about a year later when federal agents found the abandoned plane and nearby Ecstasy stash. The plane had a “for sale” sign that listed Curry's phone number.
Curry's lawyer called authorities on Aug. 13, 2007, and asked for the plane back, saying his client had experienced engine problems and bad weather.
A grand jury indicted Curry the next month. He was extradited to Western Washington before arriving in Spokane last week, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice.
A reputed drug runner who leased the helicopter flown by the young man who committed suicide in Spokane County Jail has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
This came after Colin Martin reportedly tried negotiating U.S. protection for his smuggling ring in exchange for handing over his coconspirators.
Martin’s offer is detailed in the indictment filed Dec. 23, which led Canadian authorities to warn him of possible death threats.
It’s the latest development in the Operation Blade Runner drug bust, a multimillion-dollar international smuggling operation that used helicopters to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy, landing in remote sites in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
The indictment shows co-conspirators apparently blamed Martin for the botched run by Samuel J. Lindsay-Brown (top right), allegedly sending Blackberry messages that said Martin “will be lucky if he is not dead.”
They reportedly wanted him to pay for the lost load, estimated to be worth $4 million to $5 million. That was back in February. Canadian authorities thought the guys might be a little ticked when public court documents filed last month detailed Martin’s alleged offer to tell U.S. drug agents all about them.
Read my latest story: Drug ring details emerge
Past coverage: A tale of drugs, money and helicopters
Keeping with a trend exemplified by a young couple accused of robbing cash stores to get money for OxyContin, the young man accused of a recent string of robberies is also accused of selling drugs.